ARC general media release header 

30 May 2011

Excellence in Research for Australia 2012

Innovation  Minister, Senator Carr has announced improvements to the next round of the  Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative in a statement to today’s Estimates Hearing of the Senate Economics Committee.

The  Australian Research Council (ARC) will use a refined journal quality indicator  for ERA 2012. Evaluation committees will assess the appropriateness of the journals used as publication outlets for research, taking into account any regional or applied focus of the disciplinary unit concerned. For this purpose,  evaluation committees will be presented with a profile of the journals (or  other relevant publications) used most frequently by the unit under evaluation.

“The  change empowers committee members to use their expert  judgement to take account of nuances in publishing  behaviour,” said ARC CEO, Professor Margaret Sheil.

“This  approach will allow experts to make judgements about the quality of journals in  the context of each discipline.”

“It is clear from the ERA 2010 evaluation and subsequent feedback  that journal quality is an important indicator of research quality,” Professor Sheil said. “This change enables journal quality to remain an indicator for ERA  2012, while ensuring that assessments of journal  quality do not assume an importance beyond their role as an ERA indicator.”

As a consequence of this change, journals will no longer be assigned a prescriptive rank. However, the  ARC will continue to maintain a list of eligible journals and their relevant  classification codes to support benchmark metrics.

ERA 2012 will also better capture multidisciplinary research. Articles with significant content from a discipline  will be able to be assigned to that discipline regardless of where the article is published. For example, an article on ethics in a medical journal could be  assigned to ethics, even if the journal was coded to a medical discipline.

“It is important that the ERA model is not overly prescriptive, and allows flexibility for universities to assign  publications to the most appropriate FoR code for evaluation,” said Professor  Sheil.

The ARC will also strengthen peer review and extend the capture of applied research activity for the ERA 2012 evaluation.

The ARC received strong feedback that changes to ERA methodology should be minimised to ensure consistency. These changes ensure that ERA evaluations will continue to be  informed by a broad range of indicators covering research quality, research  volume and activity, research application and research recognition.

“Once again, input from the higher education sector has helped the ARC to improve ERA evaluation frameworks.” Professor Sheil  said. “I would like to thank all those who have contributed to recent consultations on ERA for their input.”

The ARC will release the draft submission guidelines for ERA 2012 to provide opportunity to comment on the proposed  changes.

To find out more visit the Excellence in Research for Australia page.


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